Mario Zagallo, four-time world champion, dies

Zagallo He tasted the world title again in 1962 in Chile with virtually the same teammates. The moment he wore the Botafogo shirt, after the titles in Rio, retirement was knocking on the door. Before arriving in 1965, the player became a coach. The legend won new trophies. First in the youth team of Botafogo, from where he rose to the professionals. Mario Jorge Lobo Zagallo It was already a popular name on the streets of the country, but in 1970 he had to face rejection. The head coach of so many stars, the popular and liberal João Saldanha, left his post allegedly because he did not please the dictatorship of Emilio de’ Medici.

Zagallo was called to lead the team. On the part of the Reserve Bank, he persisted against harsh criticism and united Pele, Tostao and Rivellino on the same team. This made it possible to collect so many animals. After a resounding failure in 1966 brazilian team He returned to the top of football with the best team of all time with an astonishing 4-1 win over Italy. World trio in Mexico. This was also the third Zagallowho went down in history there as the first world champion in two roles: player and coach.

The glory of 1970 allowed him to continue to captain the Brazilian national team. But 1974 was a difficult year. In the face of innovative Holland, Cruyff’s A Clockwork Orange, Brazil from Zagallo He was shipwrecked in the second stage, in the midst of so many new products. Then there came a break in his relationship with “Amarelinha,” as he called brazilian team. Race Zagallo He went on to work as a coach at Flamengo, Botafogo, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Botafogo and many others. The selection was still in poor condition. It was as if he was waiting for the return of the star and was indignant at the lack of such a close relationship.

In 1991 he took over Brazil as technical coordinator. A kind of shield for coach Carlos Alberto Parreira. In my own way Zagallo made it work. During the US quadruple World Cup campaign, I kept turning to the cameras and starting the countdown to the achievement. Seven, five, four disappeared… So far no one has disappeared. Roberto Baggio’s high penalty also boosted his career Zagallo. Four World Championships earned on resume. It wasn’t that little.

So much so that after Parreira left, he returned to the position of coach of the national team. Persistent in his ideas, he accumulated criticism. Under pressure during the 1997 Copa America in Bolivia, he vented his anger in front of the cameras, finger raised, face red and eyes angry at his critics, in an episode that would go down in history and become his signature almost as much as and superstition number 13.

“You’ll have to swallow me!” – he shouted after the name. The phrase was marked with iron in the biography, but at 66 years old Zagallo He still showed that he still has breath for new battles. In the 1998 Cup he had problems. First, in Romario’s version, which earned him a “tribute” on the bathroom door of an intruder’s bar in Rio de Janeiro, where he appeared in a caricature sitting in a vase. The play of tastes undoubtedly led to the lawsuit against Baixinho.

At the World Championships in France itself Brazil He even reached the finals. His images of each player’s motivation, with hair blowing in the wind and neck veins pulsating before the penalty kick in the semi-final against the Netherlands, were remarkable. But disagreements with Ronaldo, who was initially ruled out of the game and would have suffered a seizure hours before the decision, complicated the scenario. AND Zagallo, once again became angry with the press after a stunning 3-0 scoreline in favor of the home team. There he showed his strong personality, one of which he did not take home. But perhaps for this reason he went too far.

“He came because he came. I have morals and personality to speak of. You owe me a lot. I’m here because I’m a man. I have dignity and character,” he shot, pointing his finger when asked. about the reason for Ronaldo’s appearance in the lineup. He then left the conference.

This was the end of his tenure at the head of the national team. Easier, without national pressure, he resumed his coaching career at Portuguesa in 1999. The following year he returned to Flamengo, the club of his heart. Returning to Gavea, he experienced a historical moment. He was the coach of Petkovic’s treble goal in the Rio Championship in 2001.

On the edge of the grass, wearing a red and black T-shirt with the number 13 on the back, he clung in ecstasy to an image of Our Lady of Aparecida after the Serbian’s goal 43 minutes into the second half. Marker? 3:1 in favor of Flamengo. 13, back. In the stands he heard shouts: “Ay, ah, ah, you’ll have to swallow me.” “Old Wolf” smiles. He again resembled the boy from the streets of Tijuca.

That same year, due to poor results, he left the club and his coaching career forever. And it became boring. In 2006 he returned to world Cup, again alongside Parreira as technical assistant. But the strength was no longer what it used to be. His participation was more timid. Since then he has retired from football. But whenever he was sought out, he did not refuse to express his opinion. Talking about football was like talking about life itself.

In Rio de Janeiro, having learned to love from childhood, he spent the last years of his life. And with some fears and regrets. In 2011 and 2014, he was the victim of robberies. In the first, as soon as he was recognized, the bandits disappeared. In the second there was not even time and he took the watch from his son. In 2012, he lost his wife Alcinda. The following year, he was involved in a car accident with minor injuries. Guaranteed strong. And indeed, it was so.

Once, when asked how long he would like to live, he answered on a tin: 85 years. He explained: the sum of the numbers would be 13. But he thought carefully and with a mischievous smile became convinced that using the same logic one could reach 94. I was in the first option. Story Zagallo intertwined with what World Cups.

The ball gods wanted “Velho Lobo” to stay alive and have time to see the new World Championship in Brazil., in 2014. Two years later, on the eve of the Rio Olympics, he caused a stir when he appeared, severely weakened, in a wheelchair at the torch relay. Very weak, he met everyone with meekness three days before hospitalization. But he retained his vanity.

“Tribute is always delicious,” he said as he carried the Olympic flame. The battle was now with problems in his spine and stomach, which warned him that age was approaching and forced him to continue to visit hospitals. The reality was so different from the time he lived in Amarelinha. It’s January 5th Brazil lose your badge. Brazilian football, one of the authors of its most beautiful chapters. Mario. Jorge. Wolf. Zagallo. Four names. Four World Championships. And a great story.

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